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In this late Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018, image made from dashcam video, a brightly lit object falls from the sky above a highway in the southern Michigan skyline. Photo: Zack Lawler/WWMT via AP

Meteor hunters are picking up the pieces across Michigan and scientists are reconstructing the dynamics of the space rock that burned up over the Detroit metro area Tuesday.

Eight meteorites have been picked up from the region, said Bill Cooke, of the Meteoroid Environment Office of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, in a few emails to Laboratory Equipment.

The meteor was 6 feet wide, and was traveling at 36,000 mph at a very steep angle: some 21 degrees from the direct vertical, according to Cooke - who added that the picture is still becoming clearer as scientific evidence is gathered.

"(The estimates) will undoubtedly be revised as more data is analyzed, but they are definitely in the ballpark," he said.

In the sky over the Midwest, it exploded at 8:08:30 p.m. local time. It had the power of 10 tons of TNT, Cooke said.

“We have discovered that this meteor traveled almost straight down through the atmosphere, which is unusual for a meteorite dropper,” NASA said in a statement.

The fireball created buzz on social media, since it was captured by multiple observers. People saw it from a range spanning at least three states and hundreds of miles. The flash was a bright superbolide, brighter than the full moon, but fainter than the sun, they said.

The meteor was remarkable for observers, but in the scope of other notable descents, it was relatively minor. For instance, the enormous fireball that injured 1,600 people in and around Chelyabinsk, Russia in 2013 was 60 feet wide, and produced 4,700 times the energy of this Michigan rock, according to the scientists speaking to the AP.

The biggest meteor in modern recorded history was the 1908 shooting star over Tunguska, Russia, which knocked flat 800 miles of forest. Much bigger still was the 6-mile-wide comet that slammed into modern-day Mexico some 65 million years ago, triggering the fifth and last mass extinction, which killed off most life on Earth (including the dinosaurs), according to widely-held science.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

This picture shows of one of the meteor hunters with a piece of the small asteroid that caused the superbolide - note the black fusion crust. Photo: NASA Facebook
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